Monday, 10 March 2008

Out of sight out of mind?

So, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has approved plans to build up to 750 new homes in Givat Zeev a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Under the terms of the peace process settlement expansion is supposed to be frozen. But apparently this has been ignored, and Israel’s housing minister has said that the construction will address “"the demographic needs of Jerusalem".
And this in the aftermath of a report that says that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is at its worst since Israel seized the territory in 1967.

This study was conducted by eight British-based human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Save the Children and found that more than 80 per cent of the 1.1 million population of Gaza are now dependent on food aid

Unemployment has risen to 40 per cent after around 70 per cent of the 110,000 workers employed in the private sector lost their jobs.
The report comes just days after a spate of Israeli raids left more than 120 Palestinians and three days after a Palestinian gunman opened fire in a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem, killing eight young people.
Hospitals in Gaza are suffering from power cuts of up to 12 hours a day, and the water and sewage systems are close to collapse, with 40-50 million litres of sewage pouring into the sea daily.

Israel has the right and obligation to protect its citizens, but as the occupying power in Gaza it also has a legal duty to ensure that Gazans have access to food, clean water, electricity and medical care.

When is Israel going to end its blockade of Gaza and for both sides to stop cease cross-border attacks?

Is punishing the entire Gazan population by denying them basic human needs in any way defensible ?

Does anyone have an answer to any of these problems? And if they do – please can we do something quickly before more innocent lives are lost.

1 comment:

Scullduggery Watch said...

Since the military action against Hezbollah almost two years ago I would say that the world has largely forgotten about the situation in the middle east.

Israel does need to ensure that it treats the ordinary Palestian citizens with respect. They could begin doing this by honouring any previous agreements over borders and removing any settlements which contravene the rights of arabs to live within their own areas. Bulldozing refugee camps serves little purpose other than to galvanise the zealots and warmongers into formulating the inflammatory propaganda which in turn creates the next generation of suicide bombers.

This is not to say that there are not various Arab factions with blood on their own hands. Unfortunetly, parasitic terrorist groups such as Hamas make great capital out of any kind of standoff with the Israeli Government. I understand that Hamas has a begrudgingly held power sharing agreement with Fatah over which group controls different sectors within the Palestinian territory.

To my way of thinking, Israel received a great deal of unfair press over the military actions of 2006. Hezbollah launched rocket attacks into Jewish settlements on a daily basis with the full support and funding of both Tehran and Damascus. Weaponry was then hidden in civilian homes in a bid to place the Israeli army in a quandary about whether or not to authorise attacks against arab housing areas.

In fact, there are areas within Israel that are the victims of rocket attacks on a daily basis- with air raid sirens wailing inside school houses and with dozens of children within that area suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a direct result.

The middle east is a tinderbox at the very best of times. "A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" was how Winston Churchill described Russia, but it could just have easily applied to the land of Israel and it's close neighbours.

There are persons on all sides of the religious divide, Jews and Arabs, that would love to see a cessation to the war of attrition.

Let us just hope that those who are actively searching for that lasting peace never stop trying to achieve their goal, for all our sakes and for all of our tomorrows.